Thursday, April 19, 2012

DJ Mix | Dialogue Incorporated 26

DJ Mix | Dialogue Incorporated #26

mixed and compiled by Mister Joshua P. Ferguson

As we gear up for summer over here at the Dialogue Inc offices, we've got a dizzying amount of irons in the fire. We managed to squeeze in the time to mix up a new installment of our podcast mix series, but we haven't had time to whip up the customary newsletter that goes with it. While me mull over what we want to pontificate on for said newsletter, we saw no reason not to let go of this mix in the meantime so you all can start enjoying it. 

We're especially pleased with our latest output. Something about it just flows really nicely even though it's built on the usually genre defiant approach to our sets. There are a lot of 4/4 beats on there to be sure, but as bass music, house, techno and the indie dance scene continue to merge and re-emerge, this is an area in music in which we feel most comfortable. We hope you find yourself as at home listening to it, as we did making it.


Gang Colours “On Compton Bay” – Brownswood 
Bonobo “The Keeper” (Banks remix) – Ninja Tune 
Nina Kraviz “Turn on the Radio” – Rekids 
Amy Winehouse “Like Smoke” – Universal 
Blackstar “You Already Know” – Javotti 
Balam Acab “Come True” – CD-R 
High Contrast “Two Hundredand; Thirty Eight Days” (ft. Underworld) – Hospital 
Scuba “Cognitive Dissonance” – Hot Flush 
Supreme Cuts “Lessons of Darkness (Apology)” – Small Plates 
John Talabot “Depak Ine” – Permanent Vacation 
Chromatics “These Streets Will Never Look the Same” – Italians Do It Better 
Dead Rose Music Company “Faith” – Throne of Blood 
Photek “No Agenda” - !k7 
Blondes “Wine” – RVNG INTL 
Gadi Mizrahi “So Addicted To You” – Double Standard 
School of Seven bells “Love Play” – Ghostly International 
Julio Bashmore “Ribble to Amazon” – 3024 
Matthew Burton & Kate Rathod “Warehouse Fool” – Visionquest 
Burial “Ashtray Wasp” – Hyperdub 
Rusko “14 m357” – Mad Decent 
Kevin McPhee “Your Side” – Hypercolour 
Gotye “Somebody That I Used To Know” (Daniel Bortz edit) – House of Disco 
Maceo Plex “Under the Sheets” – No. 19 
Danny Daze “Your Everything” – Hot Creations 
Tom Flynn “Truth Hurts” – Hypercolour 
Orbital “New France” (ft Zola Jesus) – Downtown 
Jacques Greene “Arrow” – Vase 
Usher “Climax” – RCA 
The Weeknd “Same Old Song” (Paper Diamond remix) – CD-R 
Sepalcure “Eternally YRS” - Hotflush

Stream: Mixcloud | Dialogue Incorporated 26

Monday, April 16, 2012

Interview | Nicolas Jaar | Space Man

Space Man

In Nicolas Jaar's world, techno takes its time.

by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 03.22.12

If techno is considered an intense, driving force in dance music, Nicolas Jaar’s version is more like a leisurely stroll—with a few stops along the way to smell the flowers. Many of those same mechanical ticks, synthetic bass lines and waves of ambient noise are there, but the 22-year-old has slowed things down, allowing a whole new world of sounds and samples to crop up in the spaces he creates. 

This idea of space is central to how Jaar thinks. “It’s interesting,” he says on the phone from the back of a cab in Providence, Rhode Island, where he attends Brown University. “Just the word space, as in the space you live in, but also space, as in some cosmic thing. I love that dichotomy. 

“It’s so important to think about the fact that between two hits, people are thinking. The silence between those beats is just as relevant as the music itself,” he continues. On 2011’s Space Is Only Noise, Jaar’s first full-length since he began releasing tracks at 17, there was ample room to think. Vocal textures in a number of languages float in and out of songs like whispers, delicate chords envelope crisp handclaps, dubby echoes ripple. Listening to it leaves you deep inside your own head rather than wiling out. 

It’s exactly the type of contemplative music you would expect from someone studying comparative literature, an interdisciplinary academic field that deals with writing and art between cultures and Jaar’s focus at Brown. In his musical world this means drawing from Ethiopian jazz, movie soundtracks and the avant-garde as much as from techno or downtempo, which, given his music’s mellow feel, it often resembles. 

“I never really wanted to make techno in the first place,” Jaar says, his accent revealing a New York upbringing. (His father is Chilean conceptual artist Alfredo Jaar; his mother is dancer Evelyne Meynard.) “My influences are just what I really liked at some point in my life and what stuck around. The fact that they’re coming out through electronic music is, in a way, just serendipity or luck.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Interview | Ben Klock (exclusive)

Interview | Ben Klock

The Berghain resident talks about his club upbringing and the Mecca he calls "techno church."

by Joshua P Ferguson

Transcribing it this afternoon, this is an interview I'm ashamed to say I've sat on for so long. I chatted with amicable Berlin techno superstar Ben Klock almost a year ago now, at the 2011 Detroit Movement festival, with the throbbing bass of Ricardo Villalobos bellowing in the background and the wind of a blustery late-spring day whipping around us. Though there was a nip in the air, Klock as all warmth—a personality trait that, while not at all surprising, is somewhat odds with the cold, steely techno he's known for. 

We talked for only a short time, but managed to cover a lot of ground: his early (and short lived) drum 'n' bass days, his love for Berlin superclub Berghain and, most fascinatingly, his coming of age in Berlin after the fall of the wall, when things were, as he points out, quite lawless. I've been hanging on to the tape of our session, waiting for just the right opportunity, and I've found it in his return appearance to Chicago this weekend, where he takes to the DJ booth at Smart Bar this Saturday 14. 

Here's the full transcript:

Given its role in the music’s history, German techno DJs often hold Detroit in considerably high regard. Did you come up with that same sort of reverence? 
I came a little bit from a different angle because when I started playing in 1995 I actually started for a short period with drum ‘n’ bass. That was my initial thing, but after a half-year or so I already I thought, I don’t know, techno is more fun. My first heroes were Green Velvet and this Tyree record [“Nuthin Wrong”] from Chicago that I put in my last DJ mix for Ostgut Ton. This was one of my first ever techno-house records. This was how I slowly grew into techno. 

As out of character as drum 'n' bass, I saw you also put out some early records with the Jazzanova camp? 
I did do one record, which was on a sub-label of Jazzanova, but we went in completely different directions. 

Yeah, they seem a bit, well, jazzy for your tastes. 
[Laughs] Just slightly. 

I think you have an interesting perspective on techno, what was it about the music that sucked you in? 
The first experiences were the club scene in the ‘90s in Berlin, which was amazing. I’m really happy that I had the opportunity to experience that period. It’s changed so much over the last 20 years, so to see this whole development from when the wall came down and all these empty buildings and all these places where you could throw parties. All that concrete was the perfect surrounding for techno. My initial thing like that was in the late ‘80s, at the first ever acid house party in Berlin. I was really young, and really hit by this loud bass and the strobe lights and stuff like this. I thought is this for human beings? I found out afterwards that the DJ was even way younger than me. I was really impressed by this young dude. 

Talking to people about that time in Berlin, was it really anything goes? 
I was never a promoter but the people I knew would just throw parties and no one really cared. It was kind of almost anarchy in a way. The east side of Berlin, all the laws and new rules had to be invented. That time was special. 

With what you’re doing now, do you have any personal philosophies on your sound and what you’re bringing to techno? 
Yeah sure, we do. But on the other hand, we don’t want to stick to that Berghain brand, or what people think is the Berghain sound. We try to always come up with something new or at least try to; to keep it fresh. I think we do have that certain sound, but some of the stuff that is labeled Berghain techno is not really interesting for me. I think we have a big variety that we play in the club that goes from dark, heavy techno to Chicago house or even deep house. 

When I saw Marcel Dettmann play for the first time, that was one of the things that surprised me. 
I love to play sometimes deeper. I always say, I’m a techno DJ. Even when I play house I play house as a techno DJ, but I sometimes love to play more deeper, groovy, sexy stuff, which is still techno. It doesn’t always have to be hammering the bass drum and that’s it. Sometimes I love the sound of a heavy kick drum and that’s it. But I love a variety. 

You would have to when you’re playing, what, eight or nine hours? 
Sometimes up to 11 hours. It’s really weird about that place. It’s really special. Sometimes I play two hours in a club elsewhere and after that I’m like, ok, that’s it for tonight. But at Berghain, the vibe there is so epic I can play there and I don’t really get tired. 

And you’ve been there from the start? 
From the opening. They had another club called Ostgut before, like the label. And when they opened the new club, Berghain, I’ve been there since then—six and a half years or so. 

I’ve never been, but I’ve seen pictures. I can’t lie, that huge cement compound, it looks like a prison. 
I wouldn’t say it looks like a prison actually, but it definitely has a Metropolis type of feeling. I’d say it looks beautiful. It has that old factory style but it’s really nicely renovated. Ah, from the outside you say it looks like a prison? That’s true. Inside it’s really beautiful. It’s like a cathedral for us, like techno church. 

Was there ever a point that you thought you wouldn’t pursue this professionally? 
I worked as a graphic designer, but I finished my album in 2008 and that’s when I stopped working as a graphic designer. I had to start focusing on one thing and music was much more important. 

Touring the states, have you ever found something comparable to Berghain? 
It is kind of the Mecca. There are lots of great other clubs where I love to play, but I couldn’t compare another club to Berghain. Every good club has its own unique vibe in a way and Berghain definitely has something very unique. I didn’t find something like Berghain somewhere else, but that shouldn’t mean I don’t like other clubs. Sometimes I love these short sets where they have the closing time 2:30am, so they come at 1am and party for one and a half hours like crazy. I love that and you’ll never get that vibe at Berghain because its way more long and epic. I love both, but there’s not other club like Berghain.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Article | Zebo | Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt

Put an X at the Booty Up, because Zebo's weekly party is worth its weight in music gold.

by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 03.08.12

The concept of being a DJ’s DJ is about as tired a cliché as someone pantomiming record scratching when referencing the art form. Yet, the turn of phrase is apt for Zebo, a ubiquitous Chicago DJ whose kaleidoscopic selecting and impeccable blends mean he’s equally comfortable opening up for indie-disco duo Holy Ghost or dubstep pioneers Skream and Benga. What DJ can’t admire that level of versatility? 

Voted best local DJ by the Chicago Reader the past two years—and hoping for a hat trick in 2012—Johnathon “Zebo” Gust’s skill and music expertise have scored him a position at Columbia College, where he teaches Club DJ classes to a new generation of dance-music lovers. They’ve also landed him at Wicker Park late-night mecca Evil Olive, where his Friday-night residency the Booty Up recently marked five years of steamy dance mayhem. 

Debuting in 2007 with then partner Travas Machel, a.k.a. Pr3-Frosh, the Booty Up has been Gust’s main party outlet in the city. “People just started to notice that we’re doing something different,” the 31-year-old says over lunch at Small Bar in Wicker Park. “Being that it’s a four o’clock spot, the only options were Nick’s, where you could hang out with the jukebox, or go to Ohm and pay a ridiculous cover and maybe not get in.” Gust’s night offered a more eclectic late-night party. That reputation remains. 

Looking like the new millennium twist on a ’50s greaser with a dirty-blond pompadour, handlebar mustache and a jigsaw puzzle of tattoos—including “true love” inked across his fingers—a humble Gust points to the Booty Up as the origin of Evil Olive’s hold on Wicker Park nightlife. “We really don’t cater to a Top 40 vibe. It would range from classic hip-hop to new dance, electro and banger house. That was really what got Evil Olive going as a whole,” he says. 

Traversing multiple managerial and lineup changes that until recently included Marco Morales, a partner in Zebo’s Hot Dog Records, Gust has proven an invaluable musical ally for the club. “After running Evil Olive and hosting every style of party you can imagine, there was always one person that fit the bill without the possibility of disappointment,” says former manager Eric Bollard. “He’s a hometown hero with a great head of hair.”

Check out the latest from Zebo's Hot Dog Records, Chicago project Echodroides:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

DJ Mix | MagicHour + mp3

DJ Mix | MagicHour

L.A. production team Jarrett Spiegel and Colin Yarck may have adopted the artist name MagicHour, but given the lightening quick transitions and finely-tuned track selection of their debut mixtape Seconds, and it makes me wonder if the release's title shouldn't replace 'hour' as these dudes namesake unit of time. This sucker moves quick. I'd barely settled into the mix before "The Lives We Invent"—a track I've known and enjoyed since it's early demo stages—was bubbling out from my speakers. It's the fourth track in. 

Spiegel (a.k.a. Popstatic), a veteran Chicago DJ and increasingly promising producer, and Colin Yarck, an accomplished songwriter, musician, main producer and member of off-and-on synth pop act Walter Meego, came together as MagicHour about two years ago while still calling Chicago home. Now the two have gone career in L.A. and have an album in the wings—bits of which you can catch, in all their glory, on this mixtape.

"Mixtape" doesn't really cut it though. Part sonic experiment, part series of edits, part aural biography, part DJ mix, all party and zero actual tape, Seconds is nothing if not a wild ride. I can safely say that no musical entity has successfully combined the likes of Sa-Ra, John Lennon, Enya and the "Cantina Band Theme" from Star Wars. I doubt many have tried, and if they have, their efforts surely pale in comparison to this hyperactive space-pop romp.

And while the DJ mix/beat tape format is a perfect vehicle for introduction (as well as a great promotional tool), the middle chunk of Seconds, which is chiefly original productions from MagicHour, could easily stand on its own. Unlike the lion's share of synth-pop and dance music, MagicHour eschews easy categorization. Mixing the orchestral pop and lush production value of idols like the Beach Boys and the Beatles with galactic boom-bap beats, boogie synths and disco sheen, this pair has set out to create cosmic pop for the 21st Century, and succeeded.

If nothing else, it leaves listeners eagerly awaiting the release of their debut LP, Remember Harder, and the number of remixes Spiegel and Yarck have in the works, including a rerub for Mad Decent indie act Dawn Golden and the Rosy Cross, which you can download below. Prepare to be entertained.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

LISTEN: MagicHour Seconds


DOWNLOAD: MagicHour Seconds | 320 mp3s